Jameis Winston got an early test in 2019 on playing against a well stacked defensive line. This came when he faced off against the Cleveland Browns in week 3 of the preseason. Winston got a chance to understand how important the check down is. Winston will get another chance to show what he learned against the Browns when he faces the 49ers. With defensive standouts like Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas.
The big man up front finished his 2018 season with 12 sacks. DeForest Buckner has leveled up since his days as a rookie and has figured out how the NFL operates. Buckner has learned how to be a great finesse rusher and a bull rusher. Winston can slow this rush down with quick screens and the ability to move the ball on the ground. If Winston and the offense put themselves in 3rd and long situations, it’ll be a long day for the offense.
Kwon Alexander left the Buccaneers this offseason while recovering from a knee injury and was rewarded with a huge pay raise. The 49ers signed Alexander to replace Ruben Foster. While Alexander hasn’t exactly stood out this preseason and I don’t know if he has taken on a “leadership “ position with the 49ers but, the Buccaneers should be happy to run or throw the ball against him because he misses a ton of tackles and isn’t very good in pass coverage. Although if you allow Alexander to make a few plays his “get hype” personality can get the defense team pretty fired up.
The Super bowl champion and possible Hall of Famer has been a veteran voice with the young secondary of the 49ers. Sherman can make big plays and isolate a receiver if the Bucs allow him to do so. Sherman will shadow Mike Evans and try to slow him down as much as possible. That’s when OJ Howard and Chris Godwin will have an opportunity to take advantage of a very vulnerable 49ers secondary.
The key to Winston winning against this 49ers defense is controlling the chains and controlling the down and distance. That will make the 49ers more predictable on defense. Buccaneers need to go up early and have the 49ers play from behind and make them one dimensional on offense.
Photo credit: MONICA HERNDON | Times